Max Fricke could sensationally quit Edinburgh Monarchs for speedway in Poland next year, according to Alex Harkess, the club’s chairman.
The 17-year-old Australian rider, who was an influential member of Monarchs treble-winning squad this year, wants to race in Poland and also Denmark in 2015. If he sticks to that plan, then Monarchs would not be able to offer him a team berth in the Premier League. Polish speedway runs on a Sunday and this would clash with Monarchs’ domestic league programme.
Fricke could also opt to leave Armadale and move into the Elite League as a host of clubs are keen to land his signature. However, if Fricke took that course of action, he would be unable to double-up with Monarchs as visa restrictions make such a move illegal.
Harkess told the Evening News today: “We can’t get a answer from Max yet, because I don’t think he knows at the moment what he wants to do.
“The visa regulations won’t allow him to double-up in the Elite League. He was made aware of this during the summer and this has scuppered the plans he had in place for himself.
“He wants to ride in Denmark and Poland full-time, but if he did that then we would not be able to accommodate him in our team next season. We are also not interested in taking responsibility in getting him to Poland and Denmark every week.
“If he wanted just to ride in Denmark, which he did on a few occasions this year, that would not be a problem and we can work round that, but because Poland run at the weekend, that would be no good to us.”
Harkess added: “The rules surrounding visas could change, but not this side of Christmas. We cannot sit down with the UK Border Agency to discuss the criteria for 2015 because there are still outstanding problems to be sorted from this year.”
Harkess, who dismissed rumours that Elite League champions Poole Pirates were set to pounce for Fricke, conceded: “It would certainly be a blow if Max does not race for us. He is very much part of the Monarchs family. We are not being negative about Max or trying to push him out. He is an ambitious young man. Until he comes up with a plan, we cannot move on, but it would be difficult for us if he persists in wanting to ride in Poland.”
There is also some doubt over the expected return to the side of Jozsef Tabaka, who broke his leg in the play-off Grand Final last year. The Hungarian’s injury kept him out of this year’s championship-winning squad.
“We have a great deal of loyalty towards Jozsef and he did ride a few matches this season to test his fitness,” said Harkess, “but he did not produce to a level that he had shown before his injury.
“While he remains in our plans, we are not sure about him. I’m convinced he will ride again for Edinburgh in the future – I’m not sure when.”
Another potential absentee for next year could be Steve Worrall, who was a points machine at reserve for the Capital outfit at the start of the season. “Steve is on a high average now and having signed for Belle Vue Aces a few months ago, they will have first priority on his services,” said Harkess. “We have to look at our own assets first and decide what is best for us, although we do have a lot of time for Steve.
“But we can’t fit everybody in. We are over the points limit, so inevitably some people are going to be disappointed if they are left out.”
As it stands, those fans who expressed the view that they would never again see another Monarchs’ team to rival this year’s heroes appear to be right.